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I have to start this review by saying it's an absolutely shocking camera - it easily wins the trophy for the worst camera I have ever used. So what makes this camera so bad?
Well Praktica are well known for their budget digital compact cameras, but this takes budget to the extreme. When it was first brought out a couple of years ago it was sold for around £40, we recently put the last of our stock (I work in a camera shop) into the January sale at £20, but then removed them from sale completely when I told my boss I'd be disappointed to win this in a 50p raffle!
The body feels incredibly plastic and cheap - the buttons are flimsy and the body of the camera doesn't feel like it would need much force to crack or break it. The front of the camera has a slide function which you push back to reveal the lens, this also turns the camera on and this is quite a nice stylish feature, but from pushing back the cover to the camera being ready to take photos takes a full 5 seconds.
While build quality is important, it isn't everything so can the functionality and image quality redeem this camera? Unfortunately the answer is no...
The camera cannot adjust focus, therefore you cannot get a clear photo of anything that's 30cm or less away from you which makes it no good for people who like to take the occassional macro, this is also the only digital camera I've ever come across that has no focusing ability. Furthermore the white balance is appaling, the camera substancially over exposes in most situations (when I took it outdoors it was just white and I couldn't get the exposure down), but when indoors it slows the shutter down so much that it is impossible to hand hold without blurring despite the flash being activated (the flash itself is too overpowering and gives too much contrast to the images) and the worst thing is that you have no manual over rides at all to try and bring the settings to within realms that would give a reasonable image.
In terms of zoom, the camera is equipped only with 4x digital zoom. There are 2 types of zoom which are optical and digital - optical retains consistent image quality, but digital degrades quality the further you zoom in. As such the images taken when using this zoom are even more shocking than when no zoom is used.
The LCD is 2.4" which 2 years ago was a good size, now it's a little on the small side but this is neither here nor there however it doesn't have a viewfinder which was more of a standard item at the time of issue. Overall the size of the LCD doesn't bother me, it's the quality that does - everything looks fuzzy, grainy and the colours are funny.
This camera is a very basic point and shoot, with the only available adjustments being flash, but oddly it is surprisingly difficult to work out how to use. Few of the buttons have obvious labels denoting their function, and the menus on the LCD do not state what they stand for, instead they use images eg. the auto shoot is denoted by a drawing of a camera.
Overall this is a terrible camera and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone - the build is poor, the images are terrible and even at £20 it isn't worth buying. If you gave this to someone as a present they'd probably think you secretly hated them!
Quick specification list:
- 5 megapixels (not bad, but not really good enough for large poster prints)
- 4x digital zoom (no optical)
- 2.4" LCD
- 2x AAA batteries (which ones you use will dictate how many photos you can get on average as some are more powerful than others)
- SD memory cards (not SDHC)